October 23rd, 2020

Cancelling benefit will tick off a lot of seniors


By Letter to the Editor on January 30, 2020.

The provincial government has just sent out letters telling 46,000 people they’re losing spousal coverage for prescription drugs under the Seniors Drug Benefit Program as of the end of next month.

Keeping in mind that the UCP lead, in last spring’s elections, was on the order of 100,000 voters, that’s pretty good chunk of the electorate to tick off.

Oh, not all of those 46,000 voted for the government but over half must have, keeping in mind simple percentages and factoring the demographics which consistently have voters over 60 skewing conservative.

Then, consider that for every person cut off of coverage because they don’t make the age requirement there is a spouse who does qualify but is now also faced with the financial burden imposed on the family by having to pay for their no-longer-insured partner. Which brings us up to 46,000 x 2 = 92,000 voters out of pocket.

On top of which, this is a gift that keeps on giving. For every uninsured spouse who reaches 65 and becomes eligible for coverage, there will be another couple falling into this situation on the other end, as one of the partners turns 65 and the other remains uninsured.

Not as significant an irritant, perhaps, as you shouldn’t miss what you’ve never had, but the political calculation which underlay the old dual coverage remains in play.

Is it enough, in itself, to bring down a government?

Unlikely.

But, a couple of thousand voters here and a couple of thousand voters there É it all adds up.

Ken Sears

Lethbridge

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baxter

As long as there is not a viable alternative to vote for it is doubtful that this issue will come close to impacting the next election at all.

I mean there are always morons who will vote for a party like the NDP but as we saw last election the vote wasn’t even close. Until there is a viable 2nd party in this province the UCP has nothing to worry about because they are light years ahead of any other option out there.

John P Nightingale

As one of those “morons”, perhaps B could refrain from insulting everyone and anyone who disagrees with his opinions. Ad hominem attacks are rife in these columns , personified by those such as B et al.

Tris Pargeter

You are so contrarian and bullheaded that even MATH doesn’t sway you. Why do you keep saying that 55% isn’t even close? AGAIN, I remind you that 55% IS NOT 75% or 65, or even 60!

baxter

63 seats to 24 seats is not that close at all. You can trot out 55% all you want but the seat totals are what matters in this province and the UCP whipped the NDP when it came to that.

Considering how the NDP votes are so concentrated in a so few ridings it is likely to stay that way in the next election as well.

Resolute

As an affected senior/not yet couple I support this initiative of the Alberta Government to rein in government expenditures. Sure, there are other targets for spending restraint and I trust they will be addressed as well. This is a start. Perhaps Mr Sears could get support from his remaining 91,198 voters to donate their share of the taxes required to fund this perk. And it is a perk for non-seniors to get seniors’ benefits. Not a right or even an expectation. Perhaps an investigation into how this benefit was created is in order? This is not a union like CUPE or Unifor where you can bully your way into benefits.

Southern Albertan

And all the while stuff like the $4.7 billion dollar corporate tax cut has been used to beef up dividends, buy back shares and automate. Perhaps some of this ‘money’ has even left the province.
So us little people get to pay this down, let alone the $30 million/year ‘War Room’ and the 6 figure/year wage for the guy heading it up…and all the while not diversifying Alberta’s economy or generating other avenues of revenue.
Again, if it is thought that votes don’t make a difference, things can change pretty quickly, and, whether this sort of Kenney UCP woe translates into other votes in 2023.

biff

so.ab has this right, and thank you, ken, for your thoughts. it is disgusting to watch a govt that bullies those most vulnerable, those that have long paid their dues, while greasing the wealthiest, private entities with…public money. go figure!
and then we have the likes of a baxter, exhibiting the most classic of all bullying behaviour, piling on. you say you have kids, baxter? with the grace of a higher power and miracle intervention – perhaps including the likes of unprofessional teachers, unprofessional social workers and unprofessional health care workers – may your kids have outgrown your infantile ignorance.

biff

baxter- your statement, “Considering how the NDP votes are so concentrated in a so few ridings it is likely to stay that way in the next election as well.”, is the glaring crux of one of the majors issues that undermines democracy. rep by pop is necessary – and now! this first past the post system from the days of 2 party politics is outdated and disgraces basic democratic principles. and yet, the likes of the baxters of this province will flaunt this disgrace as underscoring the will of the people, and that the ucp was supported by a wide margin of the dummy voting electorate. tris has noted numerous times the ucp received the support of 55% (of the dummies…not tris’s modifier). and so stupid are the many voters that they support a leader that is under investigation for subverting democracy. who needs democracy – just bozo crooks in suits that call themselves conservative, eh? if they act like nazis, but call themselves conservative, must be cons and must be supported by half of albertans.

baxter

Rep by pop is terrible as it brings up a whole new bunch of issues. It seems to always be brought up by supporters of loser parties that don’t have enough support to be relevant.

And since when is 55% some low number? It is a clear majority of the voters, especially in a system like ours that is not a two party system. I understand that Tris brings it up because she thinks it shows a lack of support for the UCP party but if the best you can come up with to discredit them is continually pointing out that a majority of voters support them then that is a pretty weak argument.